The U.S. Navy announced Jan. 15 that a future Navajo-class towing, salvage, and rescue ship will be named USNS Muscogee Creek Nation (T-ATS 10) to honor the self-governed Native American tribe located in Okmulgee, Oklahoma.
The Honorable Gregory J. Slavonic, Performing the Duties of the Under Secretary of the Navy and Oklahoma native, announced the name selection during a ceremony at the First Americans Museum in Oklahoma City.
“I am sincerely honored, on behalf of the Secretary of the Navy, to announce that this future naval vessel will carry the proud legacy of the people of the Muscogee Creek Nation, and be cemented as part of Navy and Marine Corps history,” said Slavonic. “The future towing, salvage, and rescue ship honors the culturally distinct people of the state of Oklahoma, and will join the fleet as a symbol of appreciation for the contributions of American Indians and the Muscogee Creek citizens to the defense of our nation.”
The Muscogee people are descendants of not just one tribe, but a union of several. Muscogee Creek Nation is the largest of the federally recognized Muscogee tribes, which is the fourth largest tribe in the U.S. with more than 86,000 citizens – some of which have or continue to serve across the U.S. Armed Forces.
This will be the first Navy vessel to carry the name Muscogee Creek Nation.
In early 2019, the Navy announced that T-ATS ships would be known as the Navajo-class of ships to honor the contributions of the Navajo people to the armed forces. Vessels in this class are named for prominent Native Americans or Native American tribes.
The Navajo-class T-ATS ships are designed to combine and replace the current capabilities of the Powhatan-class ocean tugs and Safeguard-class rescue and salvage ships in service with the Military Sealift Command. They will be capable of towing U.S. Navy ships and have 6,000 square feet of deck space for embarked systems. The platform will be 263 feet long, have a beam of 59 feet, and carry a load of nearly 2,000 tons.
The future USNS Muscogee Creek Nation will join USNS Navajo (T-ATS 6), USNS Cherokee Nation (T-ATS 7), and USNS Saginaw Ojibwe Anishinabek (T-ATS 8) providing a wide range of missions including open-ocean towing, oil spill response, humanitarian assistance and wide-area search and surveillance.